Former Rep. Pat Schroeder, pioneer for women’s rights, dies

Former Rep. Pat Schroeder, a pioneering champion of women's rights, has died aged 88.

Schroeder, the first woman to serve in Congress from Colorado, was remembered Monday by colleagues and friends as a tireless advocate for women's rights and a leader in the fight for political parity.

“Pat Schroeder was a trailblazer for women in politics and a leader in the fight for equality,” said Colorado Gov. Jared Polis in a statement. “She used her platform to advocate for human rights, civil rights, and economic justice for all.”

Schroeder was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1972 and served 24 years. During her tenure in the House, she was a leader in the passage of the Violence Against Women Act in 1994, which provided federal resources to help victims of domestic violence.

The Democrat from Denver was a vocal supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment, which sought to guarantee equal rights to women under the U.S. Constitution. She was also a key supporter of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows workers to take unpaid leave for family or medical reasons.

Schroeder also sought to break down barriers to women in Congress, leading the House to pass a rule requiring that women be included on committees in proportion to their representation in Congress.

Schroeder retired from Congress in 1996, but remained active in public life, serving on various boards and commissions.

“She was a gifted speaker and a passionate advocate for women’s rights, justice and peace,” said former House Speaker Newt Gingrich in a statement. “Her legacy lives on in the lives of all those she helped and inspired.”

Schroeder was preceded in death by her husband, James Schroeder, who died in 2015. She is survived by her two children, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.